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May 7, 2003

Long-term Cognitive Function in Very Low-Birth-Weight InfantsLong-term Cognitive Function in Very Low-Birth-Weight Infants

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(17):2209. doi:10.1001/jama.289.17.2209-a

To the Editor: Dr Ment and colleagues1 found that most very low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants demonstrated improved cognitive function during the first 96 months of life. These results provide an interesting comparison to our own study of VLBW infants who were reported for neglect.2 Ment et al found that higher levels of maternal education and residence in a 2-parent household were independently associated with improved cognitive functioning. In our study, by contrast, neglected infants demonstrated a progressive decrease in cognition over time, with decreased head circumference relative scores at 2 and 4 years. We found that low maternal education and child neglect continued to be independent predictors of cognitive outcome even after adjusting for other perinatal and parental risk factors.2 Likewise, Ment et al found that only the children of poorly educated mothers showed cognitive improvements with early intervention services, such as occupational and speech therapy.